Chevrolet Special Deluxe Club Coupe

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DOUG MAGNUSON

Early in 1940, an elderly couple drove Rachel, a 1940 Chevrolet Special Deluxe Club Coupe, from Massachusetts to California where she was sold because of the husband’s passing. The second owners, who were neighbors of mine in Pasadena, drove Rachel every day for the next 17 years.

In 1958, while working at Clark’s Top & Body Works, I purchased and restored Rachel with Ford’s rack & pinion steering, 1970 Chevelle front disc brakes, a 350-350 Vortec, Chevy S/B, 700R4 transmission and Vintage Air. Rachel has changed very little from that “Hot Rod” restoration (the term “street rod” wasn’t in existence then). Rachel’s body, doors, L/R fender, trunk, hood, and gas tank are original equipment (all steel). In 2005, after decades of 1960 Cadillac black, I painted her with PPG Base/Clear Black/Cranberry.

The stories Rachel could tell are probably similar to many classic cars. But the story about how she came to be called Rachel is a bit of a mystery — at least now, as no one around knows it, except that in the 1930s and 1940s everyone named their cars.

When I was 18, I really wanted to purchase a new 1958 Corvette. Since I was still living at home and working three jobs, the price of $3,800 wasn’t the problem. My parents said NO WAY. So my time and money were spent on, yep you guessed it, Rachel and Sherrill, my lovely wife.

Who has a car today that has driven on Route 66 as much as Rachel? Well probably very few, since Route 66 in Pasadena is also known as Colorado Boulevard, the annual Tournament of Roses Parade route. When I was a teenager, cruise nights were endless on Colorado Boulevard by Bob’s Big Boys.

On May 20, 1961, Sherrill and I were married and we drove Rachel on our honeymoon.

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